To investigate the antiangiogenic potential of 10-hydroxycamptothecin (HCPT), the proliferation of human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC) and seven human tumor cell lines were detected by SRB assay, and the endothelial cell migration and tube formation were assessed using two in vitro model systems. Also, inhibition of angiogenesis was determined with a modification of the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay in vivo. Morphological assessment of apoptosis was performed by fluorescence microscope. HCPT 0.313-5 micromol x L(-1) treatment resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of proliferation, migration and tube formation in HMEC cells, and HCPT 6.25-25 nmol x egg(-1) inhibited angiogenesis in CAM assay. HCPT 1.25-5 micromol x L(-1) elicited typical morphological changes of apoptosis including condensed chromatin, nuclear fragmentation, and reduction in volume in HMEC cells. HCPT significantly inhibited angiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo at relatively low concentrations, and this effect was related with induction of apoptosis in HMEC cells. These results taken collectively suggest that HCPT may be a potent antiangiogenetic and cytotoxic drug and further investigation is warranted.